In Tricks of the Trade

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Ripping very narrow stock on the table saw can be a bit dicey because your push stick runs so close to the blade. If you’re not careful to keep it against the rip fence, it can tip into the spinning blade. And cutting short, narrow pieces is particularly difficult because the blade’s rising rear teeth tend to push the stock upward.

I cobbled up this little jig to help with the job of cutting short, narrow pieces. It consists of four pieces: a top runner board, a side pusher board, a wooden handle and an aluminum hold-down bar. I made the jig to suit my Biesemeyer-style fence, but it could be modified to fit any similar fence. The advantage to this jig is that the hold-down remains snug against the fence while your hand is well above the blade.

My jig is about 12″ long, but you can make yours any length you like. Just keep in mind that the minimum length of stock you can cut will be determined by the distance between the hold-down and the pusher heel. Begin by making the runner board from thick stock, rabbeting its edge to create a guide channel to follow the fence’s attached face. The left-hand edge of the runner should be flush to the face of the fence. Make the L-shaped pusher board and screw or nail it to the runner. Hinge a handle (I used a plane tote replacement) to the runner, with the side of the handle aligned to the edge of the runner. Then fasten the hold-down to the handle with at least two screws, making sure that the hold-down will reach to the saw table. When using the jig, make sure that the workpiece is firmly against the fence, seated against the heel, and under firm pressure from the hold-down.  — Carl Bilderback

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